3 Conversations You Need to Have With Your Spouse Before You Start Infertility Treatment

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One of the biggest decisions a couple who is struggling with infertility can make is deciding to start infertility treatment. It will affect everything from your finances to your time to your health. You’ll probably have a lot of long conversations. And that’s a good thing! Here are three conversations you don’t want to forget to have before you start infertility treatment.

Who Will We Tell?

Having a supportive and loving community to support you during treatment is essential. However, I suggest you and your spouse plan in advance who you will tell and when you’ll tell them. I think it’s very common for one spouse to be more private about infertility than the other one. It’s possible that you may not be not the same page about who you want to tell. Deciding in advance will save you stressful disagreements during your treatment.

Related: Keeping Infertility a Secret

What Are Our Limits?

I’ve written before about some of the ethical questions I had to confront before starting IVF.  But even if you’re not doing IVF, you need to know your limits for medicated cycles and IUIs, too. Unmonitored medicated cycles and IUIs can lead to higher incidence of multiples. Many doctors will advise you to reduce multiple pregnancies so you need to know what your response would be in that situation.

It’s also a good idea to have an idea of your financial limits. Are you willing to take out loans or go into debt in order to pay for your treatment? How many rounds of treatment will you try before considering other options? You may change your mind, of course. But it’s wise to at least talk about these questions with your spouse before your start.

Related: When You and Your Spouse Don’t Agree About Infertility Treatment

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How Will We Keep Our Marriage First?

It’s frighteningly easy to let infertility treatment consume your life. Take some time to come up with strategies on how you can keep your marriage your first priority. If your treatments fail, you’ll need a strong relationship as you decide what’s next. And if you’re successful, you’ll want to be in a healthy place during during those exhausting first days of parenthood. Having a child is a good thing, but don’t let your marriage take second place.

Talking can be hard.

These are not easy conversations and you may find it hard to agree with each other. It might be tempting to just ignore it and hope that starting treatment will magically make you agree. But that will actually probably make it even worse. So I encourage you to seek help from a counselor or trusted clergy if you need help

Have you had these conversations with your spouse? What other things do you think it’s important to talk about before you start infertility treatment? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Images courtesy of UnSplash

Naula: A New Fertility Treatment Tracker App

Note:  This is NOT a sponsored post. I was NOT compensated for this post and I purchased Naula with my own money. I just really believe this app will be helpful to many readers and wanted to share it with you. This post does contain iTunes affiliate links, which means that I make a few pennies if you purchase this app after clicking on one of my links. You can see my full disclosure here.

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When I was getting ready to do my IVF cycles in 2014 and 2015, one of the first things I did was search for an IVF app for my phone. I loved using Fertility Friend while trying to conceive naturally, but it didn’t work for me when I transitioned to treatments. I remember feeling so frustrated that I couldn’t find anything to help me track my IVF cycle.

A few weeks ago, I was browsing Facebook and I saw a post about Naula, a new IVF tracker app! (It can also track IUIs, egg donation, egg freezing, surrogacy, and FET cycles). I was intrigued by the screenshots in the iTunes store, so I sent an email through Naula’s website and received a lovely response from the creator, Paula, the next day. She was kind enough to chat with me for a few minutes on the phone and tell me more!

Paula created Naula because just like me, she was frustrated when she couldn’t find an app during her own IVF treatments. She wanted to create something that would let fertility patients keep track of their medications and appointments all in one spot.

Here’s How It Works

First, you add your treatment dates and details. Naula has pre-set options for the most common medications and appointment types, but you can also add your own. You can also add appointment locations and phone numbers, too. It’s okay if you don’t know all your appointment dates and medications at the start of your cycle. You can add them as you go, and you can always go back and make changes.

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The beauty of the app is that each day it generates a calendar of all your appointments, tests, and medications. It lists them in the order you need to do them and will give you reminders if you want. So you can just check them off throughout the day and not worry about forgetting or getting confused.

It also has videos and instructions on how to administer medications. This is very helpful, especially at the beginning of the cycle when you’re still getting used to it.

Check out the video for more details!

My Thoughts

Since I’m not currently going through a treatment cycle, I haven’t been able to put the app to a true test. But I’ve been playing with it for awhile, and I like what I see.

No app is perfect, of course. I wish Naula had the ability to record blood test results and egg retrieval results. I guess it could be recorded in the “notes” section for those appointments, but it would be nice to have a specific place for those. Also, I think it would be really useful if Naula would let you record past treatments. I really wanted to enter my details from my previous cycles, but it wouldn’t let me create start dates more than a few weeks ago. (It will, however, keep your entries from treatments after you have finished that cycle).

Overall, I think Naula is a HUGE step forward for iPhone / iPad users who want to keep track of their fertility treatments. (Sorry, Android users, it’s only available on iOS). I’m definitely planning on using it when we do a FET cycle later this year, and will probably do an update on how the app performs for me then.

Naula has been selling for $19.99, but it’s currently on-sale for $5.99. If fertility treatments are in your future, I think it would be well worth your money to buy it now!

What do you think of an app like this? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Title image courtesy of UnSplash

5 Mistakes to Avoid During IVF

This post contains affiliate links. You can see my full disclosure here.

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I often get emails and messages from women asking me for tips on IVF. After going through three IVF cycles, I consider myself an IVF pro. I was recently reflecting on some of the IVF mistakes I made, especially during my first cycle. I thought it would be helpful if I compiled them here so you won’t make the same ones!

Over-extending yourself

One of the most challenging parts of IVF for me was the scheduling. All the trips to the lab for blood tests and the doctor’s office for monitoring really add up. Add a couple trips to the pharmacy for extra meds (or Fed Ex for pick-ups), and you’ve added several hours to your week, or even your day!

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Things can get even more crazy if you want to go to acupuncture, a support group, or counseling. A lot of your appointments may be last-minute, and it will be hard to schedule them in advance. Plus, giving yourself all your injections and medications can take awhile until you get the hang of it. So do yourself a favor and clear your schedule of all non-essential commitments before you start your cycle.

Forgetting to rest

IVF makes you tired. I’ve battled fatigue during both my fresh cycles and my frozen cycle. In addition to reducing your commitments, you’ll want to intentionally find ways to help yourself rest and relax. Have a nice dinner with your spouse, watch a fun movie, or do something enjoyable and low-key.

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Spending too much time on Google

I love the internet and I hate the internet. The amount of information available to us is both incredible and maddening. It’s so easy to compare your cycle’s progress and your body’s symptoms to everyone else’s. But comparisons are useless. Resist the temptation to predict or diagnose via Google.  If you have a question that you really need answered, talk to your doctor instead.

Being unorganized

Keeping track of your medications and their dosages is vital for IVF success. You don’t want the added stress of running out of medication and trying to get refills on short notice. I highly recommend you make an inventory of all your medications and supplies. Try to update it at least every other day so you can get your refills stress-free.

After you’ve made your inventory, you need to make sure you don’t forget to take the doses at the correct times. Many clinics will give their patients detailed schedules. If your clinic doesn’t automatically give you one, don’t feel bad about asking them to create one for you. You are paying them a lot of money, and they should be more than happy to give you detailed instructions about the timing of your meds.

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Once you have your schedule, write them all down on a calendar and set a timer on your phone. You can also use an app like Naula to organize everything.

Not documenting your journey

You might not think that you’ll want to remember your IVF experience, but I think it’s important to document it somehow. You don’t have to go as far as starting your own blog or Instagram account; you can journal (I’ve heard that The IVF Journal by Stephanie Fry is great), type up your notes, take photos, or make a collage.

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Whatever you do, it has the potential to be a creative outlet and it may come in handy as a reference if you do future cycles. The most compelling reason, however, is that if you have a successful pregnancy you’ll be able to show it to your child one day.

Want more tips surviving IVF?  Check out my mini-course, Preparing for IVF: Approaching Your IVF With Confidence and Courage.  

 

 

 

All photos are courtesy of UnSplash, used under Creative Commons Zero License.